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Old 02-12-2013
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Electrical question...

We have a Columbia 8.7 that we currently have hooked up to shore power. When we leave the boat we turn the panel switch from All to Off. My question is, is there still electricity running to our outlets because we have shore power hooked up?

The reason I ask is, we turned everything off and the electrical plug still read Alive when we put the volt tester in it.

We have new GFI's to install, but don't want to get shocked. Ha!

Thanks for your help!

p.s. Or...do we need to disconnect our batteries also? We are electrically illiterate, so be kind.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

You should have a 110 breaker wired in the boat somewhere. If not, then you need to speak to a marine electrician and get this resolved.

There should also be a breaker at the dock pedestal where you can turn the power off.

The A/B/ALL battery switch is likely your 12v feed to your 12v panel which should also have a main breaker(some smaller boats do not). You should also avoid running your 12v switch on "all". Your batteries may be divided into a starting bank and a house bank. You need to figure out which is which.
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Last edited by Tim R.; 02-12-2013 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

You have two types of power on your boat, AC and DC. That switch is for the DC power from you batteries and I suspect your outlet are probably AC and as such your outlets are still active until you unplug your power cord to the boat or trip the circuit breaker on your AC pannel.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

Thank you, I thought it was as you both say. Now that the weather is turning warmer, we will be able to delve into the electrical aspects of the boat. The gentleman that we bought the boat from has sailed all of his life. He is 77, and will help us with anything we need. We will wait until then to actually put in the gfi's.

Thanks again!
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

You're probably switching this:
Battery Selector Switch

That's for your 12v DC systems that are powered by your batteries. As was pointed out, one battery is your engine starting battery, and one battery is for the "house" (cabin lights, depth finder, VHF, etc). They can be combined for charging or emergency starting by switching to "Both".

For the AC shore power systems, you should be switching something that looks like this:
http://assets.bluesea.com/images/products/8027.jpg

The "Mains" breaker at the top will disconnect power to all of the smaller "branch" breakers below it. Look around and see if you have anything that looks like this.

As earlier stated, you can also disconnect AC power to the boat by turning off the breakers at the dock power pedestal, or disconnecting the shore power cord from the boat.

You may also have a similar looking panel for the DC "branch" circuits, but they should be labled "anchor lights", "running lights", "spreader lights" and so on. Those loads are powered by the battery when you're sailing (unless you sail with a really long dock cord!) so that will help you differentiate between the "DC" panel and the "AC" panel.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

Unplug the shore power cord before working on the AC wiring. Just turning off the breaker may not depower the AC. Sometimes improperly wired boats do not have a breaker that breaks both the "hot" and "neutral" sides of the line; and/or the "hot" and "neutral" could possibly be reversed.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaduction View Post
Unplug the shore power cord before working on the AC wiring. Just turning off the breaker may not depower the AC. Sometimes improperly wired boats do not have a breaker that breaks both the "hot" and "neutral" sides of the line; and/or the "hot" and "neutral" could possibly be reversed.
+1. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry (and in the case of 110v AC, maybe dead.)
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Re: Electrical question...

Quote:
We will wait until then to actually put in the gfi's.
You only need one GFI outlet as the first in the circuit and it will protect the rest of the outlets in the circuit.
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnolia View Post
We have a Columbia 8.7 that we currently have hooked up to shore power. When we leave the boat we turn the panel switch from All to Off. My question is, is there still electricity running to our outlets because we have shore power hooked up?

The reason I ask is, we turned everything off and the electrical plug still read Alive when we put the volt tester in it.

We have new GFI's to install, but don't want to get shocked. Ha!

Thanks for your help!

p.s. Or...do we need to disconnect our batteries also? We are electrically illiterate, so be kind.
AC and DC should be on two seperate panels.

DC current is coming from your battery bank. usually many of the systems on your boat are operated off the DC panel. It may be further hooked into an A/B/combiner switch for seprating the house and starting banks.

AC Panel may have switches controlling the outlets ( GFI for saftey). Many time they are daisy chained and there is a switch for the starboard ones and one for the port ones if you boat is large enough. Anthing running off standard electricity like home with a plug will work on the outlets when you are connected to shore power. Many people have a water heater which can be used from the AC panel side as well as engine. Some have refrigeration which is dual AC and Dc ( not as common).

The way most people get AC current while anchored or underway
is through an inverter which converts the DC ( battery current) to AC, however most of our boat is run off of DC.

AC Breaker is usually either 1 30amp or two 15 amps bonded together. That will turn the power off on the boat, however there will be AC (shore) power to that breaker. If you wish to turn it off to the boat, trip the breaker at the pedestal.

As a side note, If you have a charger for your batteries and it is turned on by use of switch on the AC panel. By powering down the panel it will not operate.

Would be advantagous to purchase Nigel Calders book and read about it as the electrical system on your boat can be expensive and most issues and upgrades can be done yourself much more cheaply.

Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and ... - Nigel Calder - Google Books
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Electrical question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by capttb View Post
You only need one GFI outlet as the first in the circuit and it will protect the rest of the outlets in the circuit.
.....If there is only one circuit.
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